This story was originally published on RNZ.co.nz and is republished with permission.
Eight further cases of the Covid-19 coronavrius have been confirmed in New Zealand, bringing the total to 28, says the Health Ministry.
Director-General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield is giving the Ministry of Health’s latest update on the Covid-19 coronavirus.
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Dr Bloomfield said the eight new cases were all linked to overseas travel, meaning the coronavirus has not yet been transmitted in the community.
Two of the new cases are in Southland, two are in Taranaki, one is in Rotorua, one in Northland and two in Auckland.
One of the new Southland cases is in hospital and the rest are at home in self-isolation.
Close contacts will traced and contacted, Dr Bloomfield said. They will be required to take 14 days of self-isolation and those who were on the same flights into the country and sitting within two seats to the front, rear, and side and diagonally will be contacted.
“We are expecting more given the rapidly evolving situation overseas and the number of people who have returned to New Zealand if they are Kiwis or if they have come from other countries, from some of those hotspots.”
For those who have travelled back from overseas and are asymptomatic, social distancing and self-isolation are important, Dr Bloomfield said.
Dr Bloomfield said it was important to look after our individual and collective wellbeing, not just physical but mental too.
He said a psycho-social response had been initiated – including ways of talking about Covid-19 with children who are distressed or worried.
Dr Bloomfield confirmed that the Ministry of Health will have a third of its staff working from home for the next week on rotation to increase its resilience.
He said the Ministry was not looking at a lockdown at the moment. He said it was doing everything it can to avoid having community transmission but was prepared to act early as necessary.
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Dr Bloomfield today told Morning Report today the Health Ministry was setting up a centre to focus on tracing the close contacts of those who had been infected.
He said he had no doubt New Zealand would see more cases arriving from overseas, and hundreds of contacts were being sought.
Yesterday, he revealed eight more people had been confirmed to have Covid-19, bringing the total number of cases in New Zealand to 20.
All the new cases were linked to travel from overseas, and as yet there has been no community transmission detected in New Zealand.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern yesterday said further restrictions on gatherings were expected to be announced within the next 24 hours.
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